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TV Viewing Audience: Industry Change Is All Good

November 5th, 2018   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas   ||    No Comments

Two words say it all: Peak TV.

For the TV viewing audience, that phrase encompasses all the compelling shows available, no matter where you find them. From watching TV at home after school to cord cutting to watching your favorite show on your smartphone, the viewing experience has changed dramatically over the past 20 or so years. We’re watching more and loving it more.

However, thanks to connected TVs and devices, there’s less differentiation in people’s minds between broadcast, VOD, or streaming content. It’s all TV, and it’s all good.

This blurring of the lines was evident in the recent Emmy Awards, where, once again, original streaming content vied equally with broadcast programs.

The TV Viewing Audience Still Needs Broadcast

We’ve looked at change management from the media buyer’s and planner’s point of view, but what do today’s audiences think?

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) 2018 Telecommunications Report found that people’s satisfaction with video streaming services was much stronger than for cable TV subscription services. The ACSI put that down to two things: Streaming services are easier to use and have a simple monthly fee, plus they’re cheaper.

But that doesn’t mean the TV viewing audience is going away. A big negative for streaming in that ACSI survey was the lack of availability of current shows.

Even in an everywhere-all-the-time world, the TV viewing audience still pays attention to the big fall network premiers, according to Broadcasting & Cable. Many people look forward to the new show reveals and welcome the first broadcast of the season for old favorites.

In fact, while use of OTT services and time-shifted viewing continues to increase, cord-cutting has slowed down, according to Multichannel News. In 2017, only 8 percent told J.D. Power they planned to drop cable subscriptions (the market research firm hasn’t released a 2018 study at this time). A J.D. Power analyst said the firm sees a continuing trend toward the co-existence of traditional and alternative service providers.

People Don’t Hate TV Ads

In survey after survey, consumers say that TV ads work—and they don’t hate them. Marketing Charts reported on a couple of studies by Morning Consult showing that TV ads were the most entertaining of any ad medium, and not as intrusive as internet or social media ads.

Clutch, a market research firm, surveyed 1,030 consumers and found that television advertising was the most influential in purchases, as well as the most trustworthy of traditional media. Sixty-one percent of consumers trust TV, compared to 41 percent for online and 38 percent for social media.

Clutch also found consumers prefer advertisements that make them laugh, from brands they know and trust. On the other hand, they dislike ads that don’t inform them about products or that are irrelevant.

When it comes to relevance, however, TV ads came in last in Morning Consult’s research. That’s not surprising, since the vast majority are still bought using broad demographics.

These findings are positive for next-generation and/or programmatic TV, since their promise is to improve ad relevance with targeting that could go down to the household level.

No Stalking, Please

As the television advertising landscape evolves, advertisers should learn lessons from the online world. Audiences will likely welcome increased relevance of TV spots, but targeting must be spot-on. At the same time, ad frequency should be carefully managed, a place where the online world often fails.

For example, consumers quickly caught on to the “shoe stalking” phenomenon, where you look at a pair of shoes on an e-commerce site, and then ads for the shoes pop up on every website you visit. This targeting was creepy and annoying.

As marketers begin to use more kinds of data, they need to make sure that automated targeting doesn’t do the same thing to the TV viewing audience.

There’s no reason that peak TV can’t be a home for peak TV advertising, too.


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